Great Plains Natural Science Society


The Prairie Naturalist

Date of this Version


Document Type



The Prairie Naturalist 43(1/2):14–22; 2011


Published by the Great Plains Natural Science Society. Used by permission.


Floodplain interactions are a critical riverine ecosystem function, including zooplankton transfer. Floodplain alternations have had an assumed impact on zooplankton productivity. I assessed floodplain wetland and main channel densities of crustaceous zooplankton, alluding to organism transfer in the Missouri River, North Dakota. Significant t-test differences (P < 0.05) were present between backwater and channel habitat zooplankton densities in 83, 75, 83, and 50% of the sample periods for cyclopoid copepods, copepod nauplii, Daphnia spp., and Bosmina spp. respectively, suggesting the presence of uncoupled zooplankton dynamics during portions of each annual cycle. Two relationships with increased flows were found, including a biologically significant decrease (P = 0.09) of backwater copepod nauplii numbers and a significant increase (P = 0.02) in the channel density of Daphnia spp. During the highest flow periods, fewer significant differences in zooplankton densities were present between the backwater and channel habitats, indicating moderate homogenization.